Programmer Lee Colleton found this on his car yesterday, which was parked along the Westlake corridor in South Lake Union. The man distributing it claimed that there's no need for a Westlake cycletrack when there are already bike lanes on nearby Dexter Ave, Colleton tells me.
The Westlake Stake Holders are opposed to bicycles, basically. They don't want any "critical" parking eliminated pic.twitter.com/PI18WdHm3N
— lee.c (@sleepylemur) May 20, 2014
The group behind the flyer, Westlake Stakeholders, filed a legal complaint back in February to block Seattle's Bike Master Plan—a much needed raft of bicycle infrastructure improvements across the city—over their objections to a cycletrack planned for the area along Westlake Avenue. Their chief concern? Loss of parking and how more cyclists would impede access to their homes and businesses—even though Seattle's Department of Transportation studied those issues thoroughly.
In other words: Never mind the Westlake cycletrack being the second-most demanded transportation development to improve bicycle safety in the city, according to SDOT: not in my backyard.
Many of the "stakeholders" backed Mayor Ed Murray's campaign last year, and when Murray announced the formation of an official Westlake Design Advisory Committee that incorporated some of them as members, the group withdrew its baseless complaint.
But they're still braying publicly about their precious parking spots! Not only that, they're trying to pack an SDOT open house event about the cycletrack tonight at 5:30 p.m at Fremont Studios with their supporters. The Cascade Bicycle Club has responded with their own exhortations to pack the meeting.
While a mayoral spokeswoman told me the design advisory committee will "not decide or vote on the final design," it appears that the cycletrack NIMBYs have already had an impact on SDOT's process. Cam Strong, an outspoken member of the Westlake Stakeholders group and the design advisory committee, is touting in e-mail blasts a "big win": that SDOT has "gone back to the drawing board" on the cycletrack.
Seattle City Council transportation committee chair Tom Rasmussen told me months ago that SDOT had already done extensive public outreach about the project. Today, he told me he'd be opposed if city planners had truly gone back to the drawing board. But according to him, they haven't. He isn't particularly concerned about the Westlake Stakeholders' ongoing campaign—in fact, he called it "democracy in action."
As for SDOT, the agency has set aside its initial concept ideas and broken up the 1.2 mile cycletrack into five segments, Sandra Woods, the cycletrack's project manager, tells me. At the open house tonight, they'll solicit feedback on each of those individual chunks.
Won't that make the cycletrack less seamless and usable for bikers, and possibly more dangerous? "Our goal is for it to be intuitive and obvious and safe," Woods said. "That’s critical for it to be successful. When I say segments, [that means] there’s a uniqueness that we want to recognize along the corridor."
She characterized the design advisory committee meetings (which take place at MOHAI and are open to the public), as "very civil and very productive." And she attributes the inflammatory rhetoric and public campaigning to fears that "one group might get a leg up on the other."
32,000 people rode across the Fremont Bridge in recent weeks, according to SDOT. The agency is aiming to begin the cycletrack's construction by late 2015.